The Party of European Socialists condemns in the strongest possible terms the attempted intimidation against politicians of the leading opposition party DS (Demokratska Stranka) in Serbia. This violence only confirms our worries about the growing climate of instability and risks ahead of the April general election and raises questions about the commitment of government led by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić to organize democratic elections.
PES President Sergei Stanishev said: “Any kind of violence against DS member or members of any other party is totally unacceptable. We expect the Serbian government to act firmly against this kind of politically motivated intimidation. Unfortunately, the news we hear from Serbia is not reassuring. We are extremely concerned about growing threats against opposition parties, their supporters and the democratic media in Serbia”.
The government’s response - claiming that these allegations are fabricated - only raises more concerns about the possibility of fair and democratic elections on 24 April. The PES calls on PM Vučić to maintain minimum democratic standards so that the result of the upcoming elections truly represents the will of the Serbian people.
“Democracy is not only about the rule of the majority” – Sergei Stanishev added, “Respect for minorities and upholding fair conditions for real public debate are as just important for systems to be democratic”.
The PES calls on the OSCE observers deployed in Serbia to monitor the situation closely and to report promptly on any violations.